Head Wrestling Coach Matthew Paeth
Matthew Paeth is entering into his third year with Otero Junior College and second year as the head wrestling coach. Coach Paeth is a USA Wrestling Bronze certified coach and currently working toward becoming a Silver certified coach.
“My vision for this program is to produce college graduates and national champions. I want to create a culture of bringing in the right student-athletes to Otero Junior College,” Paeth explains. “I expect these students to be prepared to succeed in the classroom, in the community, and on the wrestling mat. We will maintain a culture of success, Rattler success.”
Coach Paeth has been wrestling since the age of seven. He is a four-time New York State Champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and a three-time USA Wrestling All-American. While training for USA wrestling and international events, Paeth was a member of the Buffalo Wrestling Club at the University of Buffalo. Paeth placed fourth in the 2004 Eastern U.S. Olympic team trials. In 2018, Coach Paeth brought home two National titles from the U. S. Open in Greco-Roman and Freestyle wrestling. Paeth continues to train and compete at national and international events.
During his short time at Otero Junior College, Paeth has placed 4 wrestlers into NCAA Division II programs with wrestling scholarships. As a wrestling coach, Paeth has coached 16 collegiate National qualifiers and 4 All-Americans. He has also coached 114 School Boy, Cadet, and Junior level USA wrestling All-Americans in Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Coach Paeth currently serves as Cadet Director for the Colorado USA Wrestling Board of Directors. This summer he coached at the 2024 Future Olympian Developmental Camp at the Olympic Training Center. Coach Paeth actively works with USA wrestling to recruit quality athletes, gaining national attention for OJC. Paeth worked with the United States Olympic Training Center wrestling staff to build a relationship that allows OJC wrestlers and Olympic team hopefuls the opportunity to train at the Olympic training center while gaining an education through Otero Junior College.
Paeth a graduated from the University of Buffalo with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering. Matthew and his wife, Rebecca, live in La Junta with their dog Hans.
Assistant Wrestling Coach Abram Lopez
Abram Lopez, Rocky Ford, is entering his second year as assistant wrestling coach.
Lopez has been a Folkstyle director for Colorado USA Wrestling and previously worked as an assistant wrestling coach for the No Mercy School of Wrestling in Vista, Calif. He has an Associate of Arts degree in business from Palomar College in San Marcos, Calif., and is currently working on a BAS in operations management through Arizona State online.
“Southeastern Colorado has always had solid wrestling program,” said Lopez. “I see this position as a great way to get local kids to the next level of wrestling and expand their education opportunities.”
Lopez hopes to start building a wrestling dynasty for OJC as well as expand offseason wrestling opportunities, perhaps internationally.
Outside of work, Lopez enjoys reading books, playing chess and lifting weights.